BT Wholesale unveils further broadband price and product developments

February 3, 2005

4 Min Read

LONDON -- BT Wholesale today announced plans to deliver higher speed broadband services throughout the UK together with a range of wholesale broadband pricing initiatives. The changes include more competitive wholesale broadband pricing in response to service provider requests to support the continued explosion of end user take up of broadband connections.

These customer focussed plans help develop the competitive environment for the industry envisaged in today’s BT response to the Ofcom Telecommunications Strategic Review (see News Release DC05 - 057).

BT plans to deliver higher speeds from its wholesale ADSL products to meet increasing demand for more bandwidth-hungry applications such as video. Trials are scheduled to begin in April 2005 with a view to launching higher speed services nationally from the autumn.

Firstly the company plans to trial upping the speeds on lines that will currently support existing 2Mbit/s ADSL services to deliver speeds between 2Mbit/s and 8Mbit/s dependant on line characteristics. In addition BT Wholesale plans to run initial trials of ADSL2+ technology to support higher speed services of up to 18Mbit/s. Further details of the timing, scope and location of the trials will be provided over the next few weeks.

From April 2005, BT Wholesale plans to reduce the wholesale cost to service providers of BT IPStream ADSL products by an average of about 8 per cent in areas where there is a combination of high customer demand, high take up and lower costs. The reduction will be delivered as a rebate to the service provider of £1.10 per BT IPstream Home end user and £1.40 per BT IPstream Office and S product end user.

The company announced it will also reduce the costs for BT Datastream ADSL service providers at the same time to ensure continued compliance with the regulatory margin rule. Given current market and regulatory conditions, BT said it does not expect to make any further significant price changes to the existing ADSL IP Stream rental charges over the next 12 months, other than potentially some changes to support the take up of higher bandwidth services.

BT Wholesale has also announced it plans further price cuts for Local Loop Unbundling operators. BT would hope to cut the monthly rental on the fully unbundled local loop product by a similar proportion to the BT IPstream reduction. This will be subject to the speedy and satisfactory conclusion of two related Ofcom consultations and the wider review as well as following normal regulatory processes.

BT Wholesale chief executive Paul Reynolds said: “At more than four million ADSL broadband connections and growing, and close to two million cable broadband users, broadband in the UK is rapidly becoming a mass market service. Broadband service providers want a choice of broadband service delivery and the ability to differentiate their services to end users. The broadband volumes we see today allow us to address both issues of cost and choice, and will help maintain a sustainable, competitive broadband portfolio.

“Ultimately our 21st century network programme will deliver the speed and functionality service providers want for the future. Today’s news means we are bringing improvements on-stream more quickly to give wholesale customers the choice of the wholesale delivery mechanism they adopt for broadband; be it the end-to-end BT IPstream option; end user access via BT Datastream; or by local loop unbundling.

“We are fully committed to seeing LLU a success. Industry interest has grown significantly since BT delivered price reductions of up to 70 per cent on shared LLU over recent months. We’ve also recently introduced a range of new products that allow simpler migration between operators and a further range of other industry requested products and automations will be launched progressively in the coming months. We are committed to continuing our work with the industry to improve the operational processes surrounding LLU”.

By the end of March 2005 LLU operators will be providing service from more than 600 exchanges with many of them having multiple operators providing service. New LLU deployments, in many cases, will be the simpler, cheaper new range of co-mingling products launched in October 2004. BT has agreed an LLU Industry Plan that will provide a platform for operators to grow towards their forecasts of 1million total LLU lines by December 2005.

Paul Reynolds said: “In a highly competitive market all service providers need competitive input prices and flexibility to differentiate their products. These developments strengthen the broadband portfolio for all wholesale customers – including local loop unbundlers and service providers who do not wish to become infrastructure operators.”

Earlier this week BT revealed details of the next 500 exchanges to be upgraded to provide symmetric broadband (SDSL) service. By April 2006 a total of 1300 exchanges covering more than two thirds of UK businesses will be able to provide SDSL.

BT Group plc

Subscribe and receive the latest news from the industry.
Join 62,000+ members. Yes it's completely free.

You May Also Like